Stuck at home? Wallet feeling a little parched? Need a distraction to whittle the time? Then why not try playing a tabletop roleplaying game like Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy AGE or something else online? Following up our previous article on online gaming let’s talk some more about resources that can bring your online TTRPG to the next level.
Free resources for online gaming
Online gaming can be a fantastic way to connect with friends all over the globe and you won’t need to worry about sharing germs or making your house ready for guests. Don’t get me wrong — I live for game night at my friend’s house — but sometimes it just isn’t feasible for everyone to meet in person. Whether you and your game group live half an hour or half a world away, gaming online is a fantastic way to connect with friends and have a great time.
When it comes to online TTRPG nights, not having people actually there in person can be a struggle. Technical issues can rear their ugly heads and there might be miscommunication due to not seeing everyone in the same room. However! I’ve discovered plenty of online resources that are 100% free and can help make your online TTRPG absolutely epic!
Roll20 is an online tabletop with built in chat and message options. It’s got a dice roller coded into the chat too! With Roll20 you can control who sees what and when. You can make handouts for players and import images. There’s options for playing mood setting music and it has a wealth of character sheets for a variety of systems.
This site really has a massive wealth of options for players and Game Masters. One of my friends even keeps track of things on his own Roll20 account on his laptop while the rest of us play it theater of the mind style. It’s an absolutely fantastic resource for gamers everywhere, and while there is a bit of a learning curve it’s a solid option for anyone looking to grab a game or make some new friends to play with!
The best part of it all? It’s 100% free (hence it making our list).
Discord is a chat service you install onto your computer then use the web to voice chat. You can also share images, music and any other sort of file. Simply make your own server (for free) and manage it all the way you want. Discord is amazing, and at least in my area it gets more consistent reception and has fewer problems than other online call services and features.
Running an entire campaign via Discord is absolutely feasible, and while you can’t necessarily show everything on a virtual tabletop it’s just about perfect for a theater of the mind experience. Nerdarchy even has a server (Nerdarchy the Discord!) where you can meet new people and play games!
Inkarnate is map making software based in your browser. In literally just a few minutes you can make a positively gorgeous, professional looking map. Whether you’re designing terrain for a combat, mapping a localized area or showing off your entire world, Inkarnate has a wealth of resources at your disposal.
The maps you can make with Inkarnate are high quality and limited only by your imagination and the veritable treasure trove of art resources. As a sucker for worldbuilding and maps this is by far one of the easiest ways to help others picture your world, a battle scene or something else. The maps are easily sharable on platforms like Discord and they add a degree of clarity to your sessions with surprisingly little effort or preparation.
You can even export your maps to image files and then import them into Roll20, which we just discussed.
We’ve talked a bit about using virtual tabletops to game, but maybe you don’t want to pay for icons to display on the map when it comes to combat? Never fear! The Token Stamp is here!
RollAdvantage is a website combining a dice roller and a token maker. Creating a custom token is as simple as dragging and image into the browser and adjusting the crop. You can choose from a variety of frame sizes and shapes. Then just download your creation and you’re ready to go! This service is so cool, and I’ve already used it for several tokens for my own games I’ve run online. I am blown away that this is free and it really lets you add that special, finessed touch to your online TTRPG.
Nerdarchy the YouTube channel is a staple of our platform, and we love it. YouTube offers resources for creators to use in their videos including an entire audio library! The music in the library is free to use in streamed games, though it may require attribution and even just scrolling through and sampling the vast array of genres and timestamps it might just blow your mind! All of the songs in the audio library are free downloadable and it’s amazing to me what the right ambiance and music can do to set the stage of an encounter, combat or otherwise. The fact this is another free resource is astounding.
In all fairness, I believe you do need to have something uploaded to YouTube in order to access this feature but that’s still 100% free, and it’s a fairly easy fix with Movie Maker or iMovie, in my humble opinion.
What do you think?
Are you gaming online? Have you recently started? Do you know any other resources that we didn’t mention? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments!